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Election Report Card: Promises vs Achievements under ‘Nation First’

Election Report Card cover
Election is a very important tool in democracy. It is through election that citizens of a nation choose their representatives and select their leaders. Political leaders represent different political parties which work for various goals.
In the general election held in 2014, the BJP-led NDA secured 282 seats and formed the government, making Narendra Modi the Prime Minister of India, while in the 2019 elections the number of seats went up to 303. The much-awaited Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will commence from 19th April, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of 370 seats for the ruling BJP and 400 seats for the NDA.
With the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 barely a month away, how to decide which political party you should cast your vote for? How to know how much work the party in power has done as against the tall claims that were made right before the previous elections?
The CSR Journal, which is known for its unbiased and fearless journalism delves into promises made versus task completed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is incumbent at the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Following are certain promises made under the BJP’s manifesto ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. How much of the promises have been achieved in the past 5 years? Were the decisions made by the government beneficial for its people? Are citizens happy with what the government has to offer? What is the opposition saying? The CSR Journal takes a look.

BJP Manifesto – Lok Sabha 2019

Promises made by the Narendra Modi Government for: Nation First
1. Zero-tolerance approach to terrorism
2. National Security
3. Welfare of Soldiers
4. Combating Infiltration
5. Coastal Safety
6. Implementing Citizenship Amendment Bill
7. Combating Left Wing Extremism
8. Jammu & Kashmir – Article 370

1. Zero-tolerance approach to terrorism

Addressing the inaugural session of the 9th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit (P20) in October 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that terrorism anywhere in the world, for any reason, is against humanity. Since its inception in 2014, the government headed by PM Modi has adopted the policy of zero tolerance and made a strategy to eliminate terrorism by dismantling the terror ecosystem. In the words of Home Minister Amit Shah, the fight against terrorism requires collaboration “from the global level to the grassroots, involving various states within the country, as well as international cooperation.”
The measures taken by the Narendra Modi Government to curb terrorist violence include proactive counter insurgency operations against terrorists, identification and arrest of over ground supporters of terrorists, deployment of police, Army, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs); night patrolling and area domination.
The Home Minister in a tweet posted on 28th February, expressed, “Striking terror networks with undiminished vehemence the government has declared the Muslim Conference Jammu & Kashmir (Sumji faction) and Muslim Conference Jammu & Kashmir (Bhat faction) as Unlawful Associations. These outfits have been engaging in activities against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. PM Narendra Modi Ji’s government is determined to uproot terrorism and anyone involved in unlawful activities will face dire consequences.”

2. National Security under the Narendra Modi Government

National security has been a top priority for the incumbent BJP government. This can be seen in rescue operations conducted outside India, adopting a zero tolerance against terror policy at home, as well as a significant reduction in left wing extremism. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a specialized counter-terrorism law enforcement agency in India which is successfully combating terrorism-related activities across the nation. The Modi government for the first time appointed the Chief of Defense Staff for coordination among all three parts of the Army.
After the attack on Uri, the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September, 2016, which made Indian armed forces earn respect globally. Heavy damage was inflicted on the hideouts of the terrorists and those protecting them during the surgical strike.
On 14th February 2019, over 40 CRPF jawans were martyred in the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist attack in Pulwama. The government retaliated against the attack. JeM’s biggest terrorist camp in Balakot in PoK was attacked 12 days later on 26 February killing the terrorists along with their trainer and senior commander.

3. Welfare of Soldiers – Did Modi Government succeed?

In November 2023, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s office announced that he has approved a proposal for extension of the rules for Maternity, Child Care and Child Adoption Leaves for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the Armed Forces at par with their officer counterparts. With the issuing of the rules, the grant of such leaves to all women in the military, whether one is an officer or any other rank, will be equally applicable.
The Central Government launched the Agnipath scheme in June 2022, youth (both male and female) between 17-and-a-half to twenty-one years are recruited as ‘below the officer’s rank’ cadre for a period of four years. These soldiers who are called ‘Agniveers’, are entitled for a salary of Rs 30,000 – which will go up to Rs 40,000 per month, and allowances. Under the scheme, after four years, 25 per cent personnel will be retained for the regular cadre while 75 per cent will be released.
Around 30% of their salaries will be deducted every month for the Seva Nidhi corpus. And at the end of their service, i.e. after 4 years, the Centre will add an equal amount of Rs 11.77 lakh and the total amount will be paid to each Agniveer. This amount will be tax-free. Agniveers will also get an INR 48 lakh life insurance cover for 4 years under Agnipath Scheme. In case of death, the payout will be over INR 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure. Agniveers will also get priority CAPF, Assam Rifles and the police recruitment if they choose such kind of a career. Those who wish to be entrepreneurs will get help securing business loans.
However, Congress’ Ex-Servicemen Department chief Col (retd) Rohit Chaudhry has criticised the Agnipath scheme saying it is harming the safety security and integrity of the nation and also destroying the future of the youth. This is because, after completion of four years, Agniveers will neither get any pension nor other benefits and instead, they will again become unemployed.
One Rank One Pension (OROP) is a scheme started by the Narendra Modi government for Military veterans, which means that people retiring from the same rank would get the same pension irrespective of the time they have retired from the Defence forces. The opposition however, has alleged that there are large-scale anomalies in the scheme’s implementation. Along with this, the Sparsh scheme was started, under which these pensioners have been getting money directly in their bank accounts without any middlemen’s involvement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that officers were receiving greater financial benefits from the OROP scheme compared to the jawans, who constitute the majority of the armed forces and were supposedly receiving a lower amount.
In September last year, the Indian Army grabbed media attention after it encouraged soldiers to promote central government schemes among citizens while they were on leave. Soldiers were advised to educate the local communities about schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Soon after this, the Defence Ministry asked Indian armed personnel to create ‘Selfie Points’ in nine different cities to showcase various schemes of the Union government among the people of the country. Under this intiative, welfare schemes like the Ujjwala Yojana, Atmanirbhar Bharat (‘Self-reliant India’), and Mahila Sashaktikaran (‘Women’s empowerment’) will be showcased.
Under the Selfie Point Scheme, 822 selfie points will be made in nine cities where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo will also be included in these selfie points. Apart from the three armies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Border Road Organisation will also make selfie points in nine cities namely Delhi, Prayagraj, Pune, Bengaluru, Meerut, Nashik, Kollam, Kolkata and Guwahati.
Reacting to this in a social media post, Indian National Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of using the Army “politically” for elections and claimed the ruling party has hurt its dignity by “capitalising on the popularity of soldiers”.
“After facing failure on inflation, unemployment and all other fronts during the last nine and a half years, the Modi government is now making a very cheap attempt to get its political publicity from the Army. This attempt to politicise the army is a very dangerous step,” Congress General Secretary, Communications, Jairam Ramesh wrote in Hindi on X.

4. Combating Infiltration – Modi Government’s success or failure?

According to a report submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Parliament in July 2023, no incident of cross-border infiltration was reported in Jammu and Kashmir till 30th June 2023. The data suggests that the cross-border infiltration has declined drastically since 2019, when the article 370, that somewhat gave special status to J&K, was abolished and it was made a Union Territory.
There were 141 incidents of cross border infiltration in Jammu & Kashmir in 2019, 51 such infiltrations were reported in 2020, 34 in 2021 and just 14 last year, as per the same report.
The Border Security Force (BSF) shared in January 2024 that it has arrested 744 people in Tripura in 2023 for crossing the India-Bangladesh border illegally. The arrested include 337 Bangladeshi citizens, 295 Indians, and 112 Rohingyas.
In November 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), with the help of Assam Police, arrested 47 middlemen facilitating the infiltration of Rohingyas into the country as per reports.
In a recent development, the Border Security Force (BSF) has adopted a strategy to discourage infiltrators coming from Bangladesh to India. Under this scheme, bee boxes will be installed along with fencing, keeping them slightly above the ground. Some flowering plants will be planted around the boxes and a natural habitat created by arranging shade over the boxes, as per reports.
The Government of India’s multi-pronged strategy to tackle the cross-border infiltration includes tactical deployment of forces at International Border (IB)/Line of Control (LoC), use of technology like Surveillance Cameras, Night Vision Cameras, Heat Sensing Gadgets, etc., multi-tiered deployment along IB/LoC, border fencing, deployment of intelligence personnel to collect advance and target-oriented inputs on infiltration, ambushes and foot-patrolling by Army/Border Security Force (BSF), establishment of Border Police Posts for generating local intelligence and taking pro-active action against infiltrators.

5. Coastal safety – on Modi Government’s priority list?

According to Minister of State for Defence of India Ajay Bhatt, the Government has taken a number of measures to strengthen coastal, offshore and maritime security. Broadly, these measures include capacity augmentation of maritime security agencies for surveillance and patrol of the nation’s maritime zones; enhanced technical surveillance of coastal and offshore areas; establishment of mechanisms for inter-agency coordination; increased regulation of activities in the maritime zones; as also integration of the fishing and coastal communities.
Indian Navy units are regularly deployed on Mission Based Deployments in our areas of interest in Indian Ocean Region to enhance maritime security. Further, Indian Navy units undertake surveillance to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness and address contingencies that may arise. Since 2008, Indian Navy has deployed units in Gulf of Aden and East coast of Africa towards antipiracy patrols. A total of 3,440 ships and over 25,000 seafarers have been safely escorted. Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with regional and extra-regional navies/maritime forces, to promote maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
However, Retd. Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta in a column written for ‘The Week’ in December 2023 expressed his concern about India’s maritime security. He wrote, “The 26/11 attacks highlighted shortcomings in India’s coastal security apparatus. Following this, the government established state marine police departments and established coastal police stations. Several other schemes were initiated and the Navy was made responsible for overall maritime security, including coastal defence. However, several inadequacies, mostly because of organisational impediments, lack of capability with state marine police forces and turf-guarding by stakeholders, need to be addressed urgently.”
“The Navy and the Coast Guard function under different departments of the ministry of defence, which is detrimental to synergy. The Coast Guard is a paramilitary force that must have complete responsibility for coastal security in territorial waters in less-than-war situations. The Navy should be called in only if the Coast Guard is incapable of managing a situation. Like every other paramilitary force, the Coast Guard would be best placed under the border management division of the home ministry and placed under orders of the Navy in conflict. Alternatively, it could be placed under the department of military affairs of the defence ministry. The nation deserves a robust and proactive coastal security mechanism so that the embarrassment of 26/11 is never repeated,” he mentions.

6. Implementing CAA (Citizenship Amendment Bill) – just ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on 11th March 2024 ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections. Notably, the CAA was an integral part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
As per the official X (Twitter) handle of the Ministry of Home Affairs, “Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will be notifying today, the Rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA-2019). These rules, called the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024 will enable the persons eligible under CAA-2019 to apply for grant of Indian citizenship. The applications will be submitted in a completely online mode for which a web portal has been provided.”
Reacting to the announcement, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to social media calling this as the Bhartiya Janata Party’s latest move to polarise the elections, especially in states like West Bengal and Assam.
Reacting to the development, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) if it discriminates against people, highlighting that CAA and the NRC could be sensitive to West Bengal and the Northeast.
Addressing a press conference on the same day evening, the CM said, “There are speculations that CAA ruled will be notified. Let me be very clear that we will oppose anything that discriminates people. Let them bring out the rules and then we will speak on the issue after going through the rules.”
Home Minister Amit Shah had announced in February this year that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be notified and implemented before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “CAA will be implemented before the Lok Sabha polls. There is no hurdle to implementing CAA. The rules for implementing the CAA will be issued soon, and the process to grant Indian nationality to the beneficiaries will start soon,” he said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the Parliament in December 2019. The Bill is aimed at giving a dignified life to people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated to India on or before 31st December 2014 after facing persecution on the ground of religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The bill will grant Indian Citizenship to the migrants from the above communities who are considered eligible.

7. Combating Left Wing Extremism – Modi Government’s way of handling this

As per data from the Home Ministry as on February 2024, violence linked to Left-wing extremism declined by 52% and deaths by 69% between 2004-14 and 2014-23. While incidents linked to Left-wing extremism fell to 7,128 from 14,862, fatalities were down to 1,868 from 6,035. Deaths of security forces in Naxal attacks or encounters fell by 72% to 485 during 2014-23 from 1,750 in 2004-14 and number of civilian deaths declined by 68% to 1,383 from 4,285 in the corresponding period. Number of districts in the country reporting Left-wing extremist violence fell by 53% (45 in 2022 from 96 in 2010), while police stations reporting violence decreased to 176 from 465 during this period.
According to Home Minister Amit Shah, the government is taking several steps to speed up the development in Left Wing Extremism-affected states. He recently said that special attention is being given to areas like road construction, telecommunication, financial inclusion, skill development and education. Shah said the Central government (BJP being aligned with right-wing politics) has launched more than 14,000 projects under the Special Central Assistance scheme to accelerate development in the districts most affected by Left Wing Extremism.

8. Jammu & Kashmir – Article 370

On 5th August, 2019, the Central government announced the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and split the region into two union territories namely Jammu and Kashmir and the other named Ladakh. With this J&K became the only Indian state which got diminished to a Union Territory.
Following several petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 that divided the erstwhile state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, on 11th December 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, upholding the removal of special status in Jammu and Kashmir. The court mentioned that Article 370 was a temporary provision and that the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir had no internal sovereignty. The Supreme Court also instructed the central government to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir by 30th September 2024 and restore statehood for Jammu and Kashmir (without the Union Territory of Ladakh) at the earliest.
According to the Government, the historic decision to remove Article 370 and Article 35A in J&K has led to a reduction in terror-related incidents in the region. In his maiden visit to Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 by his government in 2019, PM Modi addressed a public rally in Srinagar in March 2024. Addressing the gathering, the PM said, “For decades, for political gains, Congress and its allies misled the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the name of 370 and misled the country. Jammu and Kashmir was kept in chains for the benefit of a few families. Today there is no Article 370, hence the talent of the youth of J&K is being fully respected and they are getting new opportunities. Today there are equal rights and equal opportunities for everyone here.”
However, the SC verdict did not go down well with opposition leaders. National Conference (NC) leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has accused the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) of using the abrogation of Article 370 as a “political football”.
“If somebody has used Article 370, it is the BJP. It’s been a political football for the BJP. And they have been using this football time and again. Otherwise, why would Mr Prime Minister sell tickets (promote) of a movie. The PM comes to Jammu and praises Bollywood films made on Article 370. If this isn’t political use of Article 370 what is,” Abdullah said.
Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairperson Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the abrogation of Article 370 “sad and unfortunate” but said everyone has to accept it “with a heavy heart”.
“Today an unconstitutional and illegal act that took place in the Parliament was declared legal. It is nothing less than a death sentence not only for Jammu and Kashmir but for the idea of India,” former J&K Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti reacted on X (Twitter).
Lok Sabha Elections Report Card 2024
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